Karl Watson Jr. has moved from executive vice president and chief operating officer at Summit Materials, Denver, to chief executive officer and board member of Forterra Inc., a top concrete pipe and precast drainage structure producer based in Irving, Texas. Succeeding Jeff Bradley, he arrives with 30-plus years in management and executive roles at major heavy building materials operators and, Forterra notes, “a track record of effectively leading through numerous business cycles and improving financial results.”

Karl Watson Jr.

“Karl has deep experience in the industry and a reputation for driving operational excellence and creating enhanced value for stakeholders,” says Forterra Chairman Chris Meyer. “He is a seasoned leader with a history of improving businesses. The Board is confident that Karl is ideally suited to execute our strategic initiatives and position Forterra for growth while creating increased value for all our stakeholders.”

“Forterra is an industry leader in its sector with unmatched scale and a differentiated footprint,” adds Watson. “With the support of the entire Forterra team, I am confident we will deliver improved margins, strong cash flow, and profitable growth by leveraging our significant product breadth, scale and innovation to meet customers’ needs.”

Forterra spans segments familiar and new to Watson: Drainage Pipe & Products and Stormwater Management Systems (concrete) and Water Pipe & Products (ductile iron). The former comprise Hanson Pipe & Precast businesses spun off from HeidelbergCement AG in 2015, plus regional operators Cretex and Sherman Dixie that Forterra acquired as an independent entity. Drainage and Stormwater segment assets include plants that competed with those of Rinker Materials, one of the profit centers Watson oversaw as CEO of Cemex USA, Houston.

Separately, the Forterra board has appointed John McPherson, an independent member since 2016, as lead director and non-executive vice chairman. He will work with fellow directors and management to support a smooth leadership transition from Jeff Bradley to Karl Watson Jr., reinforcing a focus on margin and cash flow improvements. On the heels of similar bolt-on transactions involving Pacific Northwest operators Quality Concrete Products and Valley Precast, Oldcastle Infrastructure has acquired Granite Precasting & Concrete Inc., a Bellingham, Wash., producer of manholes, catch basins and storm water drainage components, plus structures serving energy and communications sectors.

“With more than 30 years’ high-quality manufacturing experience, Granite enhances our ability to service all western Washington’s infrastructure product needs,” says Oldcastle Infrastructure Area General Manager Rick Jones. “To maintain the exceptional customer service [they’re] known for, we look forward to having Granite employees join our team and continue the company’s success as a part of Oldcastle Infrastructure.”

Moving into combined roles with Oldcastle Infrastructure will be Granite President Matt Vaughn, appointed director of Operations PNW, and Vice President of Sales & Design Doug Salisbury, appointed sales manager, Auburn and Bellingham operations. Granite Vice President of Operations Kyle Salisbury has been named plant manager, Oldcastle Infrastructure Bellingham.